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What’s the Point of Nuclear Weapons Today?
What’s the Point of Nuclear Weapons Today?

What’s the Point of Nuclear Weapons Today?

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope talk to Jessica Cox, director of Nuclear Policy at NATO, about the alliance’s position on nuclear weapons, NATO’s deterrence policy, and how all this might evolve as relations with Russia change.

Nuclear weapons sometimes sound like a throwback to another era, but they don’t just remain on stand-by. Nuclear-armed nations are investing heavily in creating more sophisticated and diverse nuclear arsenals. 

After the end of the Cold War, NATO, like the U.S. and Russia, significantly reduced its reliance on nuclear weapons and nuclear policy took a back seat. Then came the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014 and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Since then, there has been a renewed interest in nuclear capabilities and a focus on the alliance’s nuclear policies to make sure that NATO forces are a deterrent to Russia. 

Jessica Cox, Director of Nuclear Policy at NATO, explains to Olga and Hugh why nuclear weapons still matter to the alliance and to what extent nuclear powers like Russia pose a threat to NATO allies. They also talk about the latest nuclear technology, the alliance’s deterrence capability and why NATO does not support the nuclear ban treaty that entered into force in January. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Contributors

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
OlyaOliker
Director of Communications & Outreach
Hugh_Pope
Jessica Cox
Director of Nuclear Policy at NATO